In conversation with the Winners of 24-Hour Playwriting Competition 2015, part 2!

Following from our earlier post, here’s part 2 with two other winners to share with us their immediate thoughts after winning the competition. Congratulations to the 2nd prize winner in the Open category, Iris Chia and merit prize winner in the Youth category, Tharun Suresh!

As a first time winner in this competition, Iris Chia is excited to share about her thoughts and inspiration behind her play.


Iris

1 If you could use 3 words to describe how you are feeling, what would they be?

Surprised, honoured, elated

2 What does winning this competition means to you?

I didn’t expect myself to win, so winning the competition is a surprise for me. It made me think about how I want to go on to pursue, to continue writing, because I didn’t start out liking to write. I only began in… maybe three or four years ago? I have been in the arts and the creative industry, but I didn’t think that people will appreciate my writing. This is a very good incentive to push me to write more.

3 What was the inspiration behind the piece that you wrote?

I like to explore the idea of alternate state in society, and what happens when things go off tangent in our society and system, so my play is strongly based on that. I also wanted to write a play that many people could enjoy, so I have used pretty simple language. It is very similar to dystopian films, for instance, Hunger Games. I was very inspired by Hunger Games, as well as Battle Royale, Japanese Anime and more, so my play is really a combination of all these. I would also like to appeal to young people so when they read or watch this play, they will think a little deeper on our behaviours and the consequences resulted from these behaviours, as well as how our society shapes our future.

4 Will you continue to develop further in playwriting?

Yes, I think I will. To me, I participated because I thought it was fun, I didn’t expect anything more. Now that this happens, I think I may try to continue writing, provided if I have the time.

5 Do you think it is important for TheatreWorks to continue nurture and develop emerging playwrights through this programme?

Definitely, I’m an arts educator myself, I teach in a secondary school. I definitely support that and I would encourage my students to come and join the youth category because I think they have more exciting ideas, as compared to me. I really applaud TheatreWorks’ tenacity and perseverance in having this for 18 years. I’m sure it’s not easy to keep it running. I mean, there’s funding issues, venue issues, etc. I really applaud their perseverance to actually nurture the culture of writing. We are not a native English-speaking country to most people and countries, so to be able to nurture talents like that, it’s helping to build the nation as well.

6 Do you have any writing tips to share with other participants?

Just have fun and allow yourself to play, especially when the stimulus come, don’t be dejected. I wasn’t dejected but more so like “oh my god, this happens, now what”. I think the stimuli of plastic bags with air was a bit daunting to me. I thought “erm okay… how do I weave it into the story”, but I think I was blessed because my story wasn’t serious to start with, so strange things like that can happen in my play.


Tharun

1 If you could use 3 words to describe how you are feeling, what would they be?

Happy, sleepy, cold.

2 What does winning this competition means to you?

It’s cool. I guess I have the advantage of seeing the dramatised reading of my play on stage. Even though it was a short extract, I really liked it. I guess for that, it’s quite fun to see something I wrote live on stage.

3 Will you continue to develop further in playwriting?

Yes, unless I don’t develop in playwriting, I will belong in playwriting.

4 Do you think it is important for TheatreWorks to continue nurture and develop emerging playwrights through this programme?

Yes, because it makes it seem more valid to write plays when you have programmes like this. I think that would mean more people stepping out to write and that’s good for everybody.

5 Do you have any writing tips to share with other participants?

Don’t be afraid to use vulgarities! (to express)


Thank you Iris and Tharun for sharing your thoughts with us!

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